[Cite as http://purl.org/au-research/grants/nhmrc/252812]
Prof David Fairlie
Prof Stephen Taylor
Brief description Many serious inflammatory diseases, such as arthritis, septic shock, lung shock, heart disease, atherosclerosis, multiple sclerosis, are poorly controlled with currently available drugs. There is a great deal of evidence that naturally occuring Complement proteins in human blood are involved in exacerbating these and many other human diseases, yet there are no good drugs available to counteract their effects. One of the most important complement proteins is known as C3a. It is called an anaphylatoxin and is thought to be a pivotal component of the complement system synthesized by the human body early on in the development of inflammatory and immune diseases. New compounds that could stimulate or block the activity of C3a are expected : (a) To lead us to a better understanding of how C3a binds to its receptors on immune cells and its role in the immune response to infection and injury, and (b) To enable the rapid development of an entirely new class of drugs for treating autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. No Complement-based drugs are yet available. It is not yet possible to examine detailed structures of the receptors on cells that interact with complement proteins. However it is possible to determine and analyse three dimensional structures of small molecules that can bind to human immune cells, and mimic or block effects of human C3a on cells, rat tissues, and in whole rats. We will identify and improve such small molecules by optimising their binding to immune cells, by tailoring them to selectively block or mimic just the effects of C3a, and by making them pharmacologically stable for administration (preferably by mouth) to rats (and humans). We will then test them in rats for potential future development into a completely new type of anti-inflammatory drug, one that treats inflammatory disease processes rather than just the symptoms like most current antiinflammatory drugs.
Funding Amount $AUD 473,250.00
Funding Scheme NHMRC Project Grants
Standard Project Grant